James Calado will start from pole position in Saturday's GP2 Series feature race in Valencia after setting the fastest time in qualifying around the Spanish portside street circuit in his Lotus GP machine.
Calado produced a phenomenal performance in the 30-minute session, putting in two laps good enough for pole position within 0.005sec of each other! His strategy of running first on the soft tire, as opposed to the super-soft, paid dividends and his opening gambit of 1m47.347s was soon followed up by a 1m47.342s lap on the same rubber.
Calado ended the session 0.007sec clear of Felipe Nasr of DAMS, and even found time for a quick spin on his final run on super-softs, on which he did not improve.
Calado's teammate Esteban Gutierrez was third quickest, a tenth off pole position, with points leader Davide Valsecchi (DAMS) fourth. Valsecchi opted to run on super-softs from the start, but his cause was not helped when the session was interrupted before it had properly begun, when Lazarus' Giancarlo Serenelli spun at Turn 8 – the corner before the bridge – and brought out the red flags just as he was starting a flier.
Valsecchi eventually produced a 1m44.458s, but his efforts to improve that on soft tires in the closing moments were dashed by tail-enders Fabrizio Crestani (Lazarus) and Rodolfo Gonzalez (Caterham) squabbling over track position, and he was forced to abort.
Giedo van der Garde will start fifth for Caterham, ahead of Carlin's Max Chilton and Racing Engineering's Fabio Leimer, both of whom set their fastest times on super-softs, which bucked the trend of the majority.
iSport duo Jolyon Palmer and Marcus Ericsson were only eighth and ninth fastest, despite impressing in practice this morning, while points runner-up Luiz Razia of Arden will start down in 11th. He suffered a lurid slide when he locked-up at Turn 1 as he tried in vain to improve.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. James Calado Lotus 1m47.342s
2. Felipe Nasr DAMS 1m47.349s + 0.007s
3. Esteban Gutierrez Lotus 1m47.444s + 0.102s
4. Davide Valsecchi DAMS 1m47.458s + 0.116s
5. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m47.543s + 0.201s
6. Max Chilton Carlin 1m47.674s + 0.332s
7. Fabio Leimer Racing Engineering 1m47.779s + 0.437s
8. Jolyon Palmer iSport 1m47.801s + 0.459s
9. Marcus Ericsson iSport 1m47.972s + 0.630s
10. Rio Haryanto Carlin 1m47.996s + 0.654s
11. Luiz Razia Arden 1m48.155s + 0.813s
12. Tom Dillmann Rapax 1m48.176s + 0.834s
13. Stefano Coletti Coloni 1m48.222s + 0.880s
14. Stephane Richelmi Trident 1m48.288s + 0.946s
15. Johnny Cecotto Addax 1m48.390s + 1.048s
16. Nathanael Berthon Racing Engineering 1m48.518s + 1.176s
17. Simon Trummer Arden 1m48.565s + 1.223s
18. Fabio Onidi Coloni 1m48.578s + 1.236s
19. Josef Kral Addax 1m48.626s + 1.284s
20. Julian Leal Trident 1m48.641s + 1.299s
21. Fabrizio Crestani Lazarus 1m48.846s + 1.504s
22. Rodolfo Gonzalez Caterham 1m48.936s + 1.594s
23. Nigel Melker Ocean 1m49.021s + 1.679s
24. Victor Guerin Ocean 1m49.335s + 1.993s
25. Daniel de Jong Rapax 1m49.900s + 2.558s
26. Giancarlo Serenelli Lazarus